After spending 4 nights in Isla de Ometepe I knew I wanted to stay longer. I had an insightful conversation with a drag queen about GLBT issues in Nicaragua. I also had an amazing scandalous night on the beach under the stars. A part of me did not want to leave Isla de Ometepe, but I knew I had too. I made my way to Granada and upon arriving in Granada all I would hear everywhere is this noise that went like this “Traca traca traca traca”. I wondered what the hell it was.
After walking through the streets for a while trying to get to our hostel I found the source. Every kid I would see was playing with these things I had never seen. It was two balls tied on a string that were used to hit each other on opposite sides of where they were swinging it. I could see how this could annoy people, but I was amazed by it. I asked the kid playing with it what it was called and he said “Traca Traca because it makes that noise”. I then asked where I could get one and he said the market. I thanked him and on my way thought “first thing tomorrow I must go to the market and buy one”.
The next morning I made my way to the market and bought one. So I had the “Traca Traca” in my hand and was ready to play. I went for it and holy shit I couldn’t even make them hit once. I try again and still nothing. People all around me are looking at me and laughing. I know what they are thinking, “look at this foreigner trying to play the Traca Traca”.
I walked around a bit with it in my hand and then a lady flags me down to come to her shop. She tells me she will help me. She borrows it and goes for it. Then she explains it to me and breaks it down a bit. I ask her why do the kids play with this. She said the kids play with it because it cost less than $0.35 to buy and it keeps them entertained. They also compete with each other to see who can do it the longest and also do different styles. She explained people could do the regular beat or also do the horse; they could also do it over the head and turn it into a helicopter. After about 30 minutes there I go on about my way. Still no progress, but now I know what I need to do.
The next few days I’d take the “Traca Traca” with me everywhere I’d go. I was determined to learn how to do it. As I’d walk around Granada I knew every one was watching me trying to do it. It’s funny because a lot of people started recognizing me in the streets and markets because every time they would see me they would see with the “Traca Traca”. Some would ask me if I was getting the hang of it and I’d tell them I am improving everyday. The “Traca Traca” became a great tool to start talking with the local adults and children. We would start chatting about the Traca Traca and go off and talk about other things.
I loved the fact that a lot of people would try and help me. I also loved that the children did not mind me taking pictures of them while playing it. I was also able to record a kid doing it while attending a baseball game with Matt from The Expert Vagabond, Lucero from Superxicana Travel Adventures and Ryan & Dina from Vagabond Quest.
Now that you have seen the video you must agree it is pretty fucking cool I know I am easily amused and entertained, but yeah I think that is awesome. After spending 7 days in Granada I did get the hang of it, but not as good as the kids around town could do it. I now have them hanging from my backpack and play with them every once in a while. Aside from spending the night on active Volcano Masaya (will write about this soon) this was a major highlight of my stay in Granada.